By Brenda Alexander

There isn’t an episode of Martin that I don’t find hilarious. The show has classic episodes and one-liners: from Pam’s buckshots to Tommy’s lack of employment, Martin was the classic fool.

Aside from the comedy, Martin and Gina’s relationship made the show great. They were the original #RelationshipGoals for the young 20 somethings of the 90s. From the beginning, their on-screen chemistry was lit and remains unmatched since its time. You couldn’t tell me Martin and Gina weren’t a real thing. But if you wonder why such a successful show ended seemingly before its time, that may just be the reason why. According to Tisha Campbell-Martin, Lawrence took their on-screen love affair and tried to have life imitate art.

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Long before the “Me Too” movement’s breaking news articles of Hollywood Executives and Music Moguls being accused of chasing their subordinates around office chambers and cornering them in trailers on set, at the height of Martin’s success, Campbell-Martin filed a sexual harassment complaint against Martin, HBO (the parent company of the FOX Network at the time) and the show producers (Lawrence was also an EP), claiming that Martin was an intimidating predator who caused an uncomfortable work environment.


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JET Magazine profiled the lawsuit in their January 1997 issue. Campbell-Martin alleged the conditions she worked under were “intolerable” and that she “was subjected to repeated and escalating sexual harassment, sexual battery, verbal abuse and related threats to her physical safety” by Lawrence. She claimed that since the show’s first season, Lawrence asked her out on dates and she declined. As seasons progressed, she alleged that Lawrence’s behavior worsened with tantrums, outbursts and threats when he didn’t get his way on set. She even went as far as requesting that writers stop incorporating scenes featuring she and Lawrence in bed together, saying that Lawrence took their love scenes too far with excessive groping and using tongue while kissing against her wishes. Lawrence denied the allegations and accused Campbell-Martin of using him as a pawn for her contract negotiations.

In November of 1996, the talented costar left the show and its 6.7 million viewers, leaving the producers to find creative ways to film without her. Her absence called for episodes that were interesting, to say the least. There was the episode where Martin and Gina planned to go on a cruise but Gina misses the boat, leaving Martin with a crazed vacationer played by Lynn Whitfield, a promotional ploy on his movie A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. They even tried to highlight the supporting characters Pam, Tommy and Cole with episodes focused on them. The damage was done. Without Martin and Gina, the show’s ratings dipped and was subsequently canceled in its 5th season. Even in the final episode, Campbell-Martin refused to film with Lawrence. The two-part finale featured no scenes with either of them together, despite both appearing in the episode.

There was little backlash against Martin compared to what we see with the likes of Bill Cosby and others who have suffered tremendous career blows. Martin continued with box office successes post the Martin era with Bad Boys II, Life and the Big Momma’s House franchise. There has been minimal interaction between Martin and Tisha since, at least publicly. Co-stars have even alluded to there still being tension and tip-toeing around definitive answers. In interviews with the cast, the lawsuit was never mentioned and reunions were shot down. Maybe that’s the brilliant work of publicists or a gag order was in place, it’s hard to tell. The only cast member who touched on the ordeal at all is Tichina Arnold. In a 2012 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, she said,
“The lawsuit was a very interesting thing to be a part of. Tisha and I have been friends since childhood, and Martin and I are still friends. There’s a point where you have to be professional and a point where you have to be personal, and I was very well aware of separating the two, and Tisha always respected that. It was very weird, but I handled it as best I could.”
Fast forward to February 2018 and black twitter’s prayers were finally answered with a simple picture:


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Tichina Arnold, Martin Lawrence & Tisha Campbell-Martin

I am just as excited as everyone else, but I have questions:

· What about the lawsuit and allegations?

· What come to Jesus moment took place in this meeting that warranted kisses on cheeks?

I consider myself a woman of faith and believe in the power of forgives. But ma’am, if I suffered anything close to what Campbell-Martin claims, I doubt I would fix my lips to kiss that said man on the cheek. Is this a happy ending for the fans? Hell yeah! Give me a two-hour special, some appetizers and cocktails and I’m content; but, I am slightly concerned for what this says for this current rise of women speaking out against abuse in the workplace. I’m eager to see how or if this will affect the promotion of the reboot. Especially, since the demise of the show has been attributed to the abuse allegations.

Is this a happy ending or what? Chime in!
Brenda is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing, wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com

By Mwabi Kaira

Despite having so many choices of shows with people of color to watch on TV or streaming services these days, the internet exploded last week when there were hints about a Martin reboot coming back. It started with Martin’s fiance, Roberta Moradfar posting, “Got word from my fiancé that my favorite show may be coming back..." Martin responded with an eye emoji and the story took off. That was followed up by co-stars Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Tichina Arnold being photographed after a lunch date. They were mum when asked about a reboot but Tisha was wearing an outfit with one of the show’s famous lines: “That Ain’t No Damn Puppy.”

Reaction has been mixed from twitter users being ecstatic and coming up with story lines to others being 100% against it and asking that such a classic show be left alone. 

Twitter user @JessicaSaxena thinks that the reboot should begin at Tommy's funeral with everyone reconnecting and realizing that life is too short not to be with their friends. Actor Tommy Ford passed away in 2016 so this would be a great way to honor him. Others just can’t imagine how a show that ended in 1997 can come back and be current in 2018 and still make us laugh like it did. Lets face it, seeing 20-something Martin, Gina and Pam being very physical in their comedy will not be the same as seeing late-40’s and early 50’s Martin, Gina and Pam being physical in their comedy.

Tia & Tamera Mowry 
There has been a surge of reboots lately. Will & Grace made a come back last March after being off the air since 2006 and picked up with the show's four stars in their present lives. Fuller House returned to Netflix in 2016 and has been picked up for a 4th season already. Roseanne is set to return in March after being off the air since 1997. Black sitcoms need to grab a piece of this pie too and actors are taking to their social media accounts asking fans if they’d like to see them back on their screens. Jackée Harry, Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera-Mowry Housley have all expressed wanting a Sister, Sister reboot and are just looking for a home for it. Flex Alexander recently asked fans if they’d want to see a One on One reboot on an instagram post. Nicole Ari Parker and Malinda Williams did the same and asked fans if they were ready to see Soul Food come back.

Soul Food Cast
I’m here for melanin nostalgia and would love to see an explosion of shows I loved back on my screen especially with so many ways to watch them now. I would love The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air come back as a cartoon. I’d love to see Maxine and Kyle raising their Black Lives Matter kids and Regine and her rich husband being as bougie as ever in a Living Single reboot. I’d love to see Toni Childs and Todd’s baby all grown up and see if Lynn is still in school in a Girlfriends reboot. The list goes on and on but because of social media, we live in fickle times. Fans love you one minute and black twitter trashes you the next and there goes the pendulum shift in real time. If these reboots come, writers have to come so correct and leave zero room for error. They can’t drastically change storylines we loved and give us new characters that we can’t connect to. Sure, Martin could have become a Preacher like someone we know in our real lives but we don’t want to see him as that; we have to be presented with the loud, short man who had jokes for days and read Pam on the daily. We have to feel like we have been dropped back into our favorite characters lives just as we knew them but as their 2018 best versions.

Are you keeping your fingers crossed for a Martin reboot? What other shows do you want to see come back?
Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/